A father has penned sarcastic but angry letter to his 12-year-old daughter’s school after she expressed disappointment that she wasn’t given a choice of location on an end-of-year school trip because she is female.
Stephen Callaghan, who lives in Wongarbon near Dubbo in NSW, posted the letter to Twitter - it opens, “I must draw your attention to a serious incident.”
“When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017 but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968.
“I know this to be the case as Ruby informed me that the ‘girls’ in Year 6 would be attending the school library to get their hair and make-up done on Monday afternoon while the ‘boys’ are going to Bunnings.
The letter continues – “Are you able to search the school buildings for a rip in the space-time continuum? Perhaps there is a faulty Flux Capacitor hidden away in the girl’s toilet block.”
Yeah, they do this crap at my kid's holiday care thing. The boys have 'unbelievably amazing adventure day' (I'm paraphrasing) and meanwhile the girls have 'makeover day'.— Jamie Q Roberts (@Jamieqroberts) December 6, 2017
Speaking about his daughter, Stephen said, “Ruby got off the bus yesterday and she launched straight into how the "boys" go to Bunnings. I just thought the school needed a gentle reminder that we are in 2017 and trying to move away from gender stereotyping.”
“I said I'd go in to bat for her if she wanted to challenge their decision. She thought about it but then decided she'd like a haircut . But she was and is still annoyed she didn't get a choice.” Stephen said.
A Department of Education spokesperson told Stephen in an email, “A long tradition at Dubbo West Public School has been activities including preparing hair and make-up with professionals on the day of the Year 6 graduation.
“Several years ago, the visit to Bunnings replaced the previous boys’ activity.
“The school is happy to accommodate any student who prefers the alternative activity.
“No parents or students have approached the school with concerns about the choice of activities.”
My son is 13 and they have different sport classes and teachers for the boys & girls! What sort of example is that setting? Does my head in.— Ricky (@galumay) December 6, 2017
Stephen who goes by the handle @2FBS on Twitter is no stranger to speaking out for his daughters. In September 2017, a tweet by Stephen to Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull got attention after another of his daughters was threatened by a man on Facebook for supporting same-sex marriage.
After posting the a photo of the letter to Twitter, a lot of people shared their similar experiences with sexism at school and in the workplace.
I’d much prefer Bunnings!— Röbïnä (@RubyandAlex) December 6, 2017
I had to fight to do maths enrichment instead of grooming and deportment classes when I was at school. I was the only girl in that class 😊
Stephen hopes that schools can take the necessary steps needed to break down stereotypes.
“I hope schools do more to tear down gender stereotyping. If it can be pointed out and changed at primary school level it will change behaviour.”